The nation’s primary inland waterways system, which includes the Mississippi, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee rivers and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, carries about 60% of U.S. corn and soybean exports with a combined value of $17.2 billion.
A report, “The Importance of Inland Waterways to U.S. Agriculture,” used economic modeling to forecast the impacts to the U.S. economy and agricultural competitiveness in global markets from three investment scenarios.
Here’s a look at three investment scenarios:
- Status quo investment of $29.6 billion for new construction, rehabilitation and maintenance. The total cumulative economic impact to 2045 is $185 billion GDP; 395,000 employment and sales of $354 billion.
- With increased funding of $6.3 billion to construct all authorized projects in 10 years, a total investment of $35.9 billion, the employment rises 20% from status quo to 472,000, the GDP rises 40% to $258 billion and sales rise 40% to $96 billion.
- With gradually decreasing funding through 2045 for operation and maintenance and no construction of authorized projects, funding totals $15.3 billion, a decrease of $14.3 billion from the status quo. Under this scenario, employment is 18% less than status quo at 323,000; GDP is 38% less at $115 billion and sales are $220 billion, a 38% decrease.
What are the waterway benefits by state?
The total benefits of the waterways system varies from $4,827 million in Illinois to $552.8 million in Louisiana. Other states that benefit from the river system include Iowa, $3,260 million; Minnesota, $1,728 million; Missouri, $1,736 million; and Arkansas, $1,588 million.